Robots have long been an integral part of many areas of industrial production – and their range of tasks continues to grow in the course of digitization. Whether welding, painting, soldering or palletizing: industrial robots work dynamically. A flexible 3D energy chain like the triflex R from igus makes it possible to guide robot cables safely. In order to detect potential chain breaks due to the extreme load in good time and to avoid unplanned machine failures, igus is presenting the world’s first breakage monitoring system for 3D energy chains at automatica 2022 with i.Sense TR.B.
Increasing material and energy efficiency, compensating for supply bottlenecks through domestic production and alleviating the shortage of workers: According to the trend index 2022 of the world’s leading trade fair automatica, these are some of the most frequently cited reasons why industrial robots are important for the German economy.
For an industrial robot to be able to work reliably, however, one thing is essential above all: safe cable routing. Robot cables have to withstand numerous reverse bending cycles as well as torsional and tensile loads. With the triflex R, igus has developed a round energy chain with a defined bending radius especially for industrial robots in order to protect the cables even during dynamic rotating and swiveling movements. Because a chain break can be devastating: Plant downtime, production stops and delivery delays cost time and money.
Smart real-time condition monitoring – also for 3D applications
With i.Sense TR.B, the proven i.Sense breakage monitoring of the igus smart plastics is now also possible for dynamic, three-dimensional applications. Customers can thus increase the safety of their robot systems with an investment of just a few hundred euros. The i.Sense TR.B sensor is connected directly to the PLC customer control – without additional software costs. If a chain link breaks, the system detects the change in length of the cable installed in the chain and can output a digital signal to the system control accordingly.
The lightning-fast breakage detection enables immediate maintenance measures and can thus avoid unplanned downtimes and total failures in the event of individual chain link breakage. “Especially in use cases such as automotive assembly lines with extremely high output, each downtime can cost several hundred thousand euros. Real-time condition monitoring of the energy supply in industrial robots therefore offers users considerable added value,» explains Richard Habering, head of the smart plastics division at igus.
Sustainable maintenance with smart plastics
With the help of numerous test series in the largest test laboratory in the industry, igus works continuously to further optimize the quality and durability of its products. The combination of flexible triflex R 3D chain with high tensile force absorption and i.Sense TR.B sensor makes it possible to guide and protect robot cables safely – and thus increase their service life enormously. Condition-based maintenance using the TR.B sensor also makes maintenance more sustainable, because users can avoid unnecessary or too early product replacement. And if the chain actually breaks, the sensor can be reused after the system has been properly shut down in an emergency.